To be successful is a mindset. Everyone dreams of it, the fancy car, the big house, the freedom. Throw all that in the garbage.
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To be truly successful, like true happiness, comes from within.
You can dream it, you can make the dream board, you can have the mantras, but they’re all meaningless if you aren’t allowing yourself to feel successful on the journey there.
Success is a lifestyle, it’s a way of being, it’s not a destination. The same is true for happiness. You attain different levels along the way but if you’re only reaching for the next level, the next destination, and never appreciating where you’re at at the moment, you’ll never “be” successful. Why would you, if you can’t appreciate it?
I recently got a big old envelope from a famous “lottery” website saying that I was the big winner. Oh man, let me tell you, I tore into that envelope like it was water in the desert (until I realized I should wait for my husband to get home so we could open it together). Man when he got home I was brimming with excitement, the whole time I waited for him I was imagining the life we would be able to live, finally.
I kept saying to myself, man we’ve paid our dues, we’re putting in the work, it’s finally our time!
We would move across the country, from New Jersey to Washington state, because we fell in love with it when we were out there. We would move to Olympia, right outside of the National Park, right by the mountain. Or maybe New Hampshire in that little town I’d found, in that perfect house just outside of town where we’d have enough privacy but enough resources too. That was our definition of being successful.
I saw the cars we’d buy, I thought of the clothes we’d donate when we were successful because we could buy a whole new wardrobe.
To heck with the clothes I’ve had since high school! I’d get a new phone and a new phone case because I’ve been babying this poor, bedraggled case to protect my phone for the past two years. We would get the new wireless headphones and the new smartwatch. I could finally go get a cute crib for my daughter, and a California king bed for my much taller husband whose feet dangle off the edge of our bed. I saw it all. Being successful was a drive I had and I wouldn’t stop until I got it.
My husband got home and I always like to give him the bad, good, great news for the day. The good news that day was that I took our son on a walk around our apartment complex and he had a blast. Then the great news was the envelope, begging to me to open it. I said even if it’s the $500 check, I will be happy, we could use that too. I was afraid it was a gimmick, I was afraid it was just a ‘keep up the good work’ type of thing. The big moment came…
It was a check for $10.
Oh man, how deflating that was. $10!? I’ve lost $10 and didn’t bat an eye, I’d give anyone $10 if they needed it. But that was before my son, before I was pregnant with my daughter and my son wasn’t even a year old yet and my job let me go. That was before I stayed awake at night praying that this was the answer, this was the moneymaker, this was going to work. In reality, I was successful in a sense.
And then I remembered, the amount doesn’t matter. It was $10 more than we had, it was a tip my husband didn’t have to work for, it was a weeks worth of milk for my son, it was a new outfit for his birthday party.
My husband preaches to me all the time about appreciating where we’re at and what we’re doing, always. It’s hard sometimes let me tell you, because I am a hustler, because I have huge dreams, because I know there’s more out there and I WILL get it, I will.
But life’s about the journey, not only being successful.
The destination is the same no matter which way you slice it. And ‘successful’ is a matter of opinion. In reality, we are far luckier than a lot of people. If you bemoan every little thing, the universe won’t grant you the big things.
You have to keep the faith, you have to hold on, and just get back to the grindstone.
Just keep on keeping on, celebrate the little things, forget the things that don’t really matter. Life alone is a blessing that can easily be taken for granted. Stay strong, stay mindful, stay positive, you got this. You are successful when you decide that you are.
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